Today is Memorial Day in the United States - A day we remember and honor our men and women of the military. If you celebrated this Holiday, we hope it was safe and enjoyable.
We ask each of you to please pray for soldiers from all countries that God might hold then in His hand and bring them all home, soon.
May God bless,
The GospeLines Staff
≈ Devotional for Tuesday: May 29, 2007
"Retread and Dread"
Re-tread [rée trčd]
Function: transitive verb Inflected Form(s): re·tread·ed; re·tread·ing 1: to bond or vulcanize a new tread to the prepared surface of (a worn tire) 2: to make over as if new <retread an old plot>
Are you a retread?Do you replay recent events over and over in your mind, especially if they are negative?Do you replay every real or imagined offense?Do you dread tomorrow, even though it hasn’t arrived?
If so, you aren’t alone.Many of us regurgitate negative experiences. Even more alarming is our tendency to anticipate the worse…perhaps an impending layoff, the results of medical tests, or some other fate that’s bound to happen.But there’s an expectancy we should have if God grants us tomorrow and it isn’t impending gloom and doom.
God is in control of everything.We need to acknowledge and repent for those things we did wrong yesterday, but otherwise, yesterday is over and done.Today is a new day and God’s grace and mercy is available to us.And, IF we are fortunate enough to see tomorrow, we need to heed the words found in:
"Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life." Philippians 4:6-7 (The Message)
GospeLines Prayer:Father, we humans are complex beings comprised of many intricate layers that make us unique.Let me not be the definition of a retread – “a worn tire made over as IF new.”Let me live the words found in
"Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new. 18God has done it all! He sent Christ to make peace between himself and us, and he has given us the work of making peace between himself and others." 2nd Corinthians 5:17-18 (Contemporary English Version)
Fix me Jesus, Fix Me!
In His Love,
≈ Devotional for Wednesday: May 30, 2007
"Making Music With What You Have"
On Nov. 18, 1995, Itzhak Perlman, the violinist, came on stage to give a concert at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City. If you have ever been to a Perlman concert, you know that getting on stage is no small achievement for him. He was stricken with polio as a child, and so he has braces on both legs and walks with the aid of two crutches. To see him walk across the stage one step at a time, painfully and slowly, is an awesome sight. He walks painfully, yet majestically, until he reaches his chair.Then he sits down, slowly, puts his crutches on the floor, undoes the clasps on his legs, tucks one foot back and extends the other foot forward. Then he bends down and picks up the violin, puts it under his chin, nods to the conductor and proceeds to play.
By now, the audience is used to this ritual. They sit quietly while he makes his way across the stage to his chair. They remain reverently silent while he undoes the clasps on his legs. They wait until he is ready to play. But this time, something went wrong. Just as he finished the first few bars, one of the strings on his violin broke. You could hear it snap - it went off like gunfire across the room. There was no mistaking what that sound meant.There was no mistaking what he had to do.
People who were there that night thought to themselves: "We figured that he would have to get up, put on the clasps again, pick up the crutches and limp his way off stage - to either find another violin or else find another string for this one."
But he didn't.Instead, he waited a moment, closed his eyes and then signaled the conductor to begin again. The orchestra began, and he played from where he had left off. And he played with such passion and such power and such purity as they had never heard before.
Of course, anyone knows that it is impossible to play a symphonic work with just three strings. I know that, and you know that, but that night Itzhak Perlman refused to know that. You could see him modulating, changing, re-composing the piece in his head. At one point, it sounded like he was de-tuning the strings to get new sounds from them that they had never made before.
When he finished, there was an awesome silence in the room. And then people rose and cheered. There was an extraordinary outburst of applause from every corner of the auditorium. We were all on our feet, screaming and cheering, doing everything we could to show how much we appreciated what he had done.
He smiled, wiped the sweat from this brow, raised his bow to quiet us, and then he said - not boastfully, but in a quiet, pensive, reverent tone - "You know, sometimes it is the artist's task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left."
What a powerful line that is. It has stayed in my mind ever since I heard it.And who knows? Perhaps that is the definition of life - not just for artists but for all of us. Here is a man who has prepared all his life to make music on a violin of four strings, who, all of a sudden, in the middle of a concert, finds himself with only three strings; so he makes music with three strings, and the music he made that night with just three strings was more beautiful, more sacred, more memorable, than any that he had ever made before, when he had four strings.
So, perhaps our task in this shaky, fast-changing, bewildering world in which we live is to make music, at first with all that we have, and then, when that is no longer possible, to make music with what we have left.
~Jack Riemer, Houston Chronicle, February 10, 2001~
≈ Devotional for Thursday: May 31, 2007
"Tracks of Their Tears"
Watching the news can be very upsetting more often than not.I keep hoping to hear some good news besides the murder and mayhem happening in our own backyards.So many people are dieing needlessly and young.
Sadly, three young persons that were dear to my heart have lost their lives – one in a head-on car accident and my godchild was gunned down at a high school football game by an individual aiming for someone else.Last, but not least, a former neighbor’s son and his buddy recently were shot and killed in a parking lot after some sort of altercation.He was a week shy of his high school graduation.(No suspect has been found or arrested yet in this case. The shooter at the football game received a 33-year prison sentence.) They all were in the wrong place at the wrong time.Makes me wonder – can we ever feel safe?
I have not walked in the shoes of those parents – all over the world – who have lost their children in an untimely and/or violent manner.I can only imagine the tracks of their tears.
No matter how much or how little time God loans us His children, we are never prepared.A life snuffed out early is more than our brains and hearts can comprehend.Surely all of us question why God allows some things to happen.We know we must go on with our lives, but when we do, it must feel surreal—life moving in slow motion.
Listen to His word found in Lamentations 3: 32-33; 47-49 (New Living Translation)
32 Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion because of the greatness of his unfailing love. 33 For he does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow.
47 We are filled with fear, for we are trapped, devastated, and ruined.” 48 Tears stream from my eyes because of the destruction of my people!
49 My tears flow endlessly; they will not stop
GospeLines Prayer:Father, as a people, we seem to be self-destructing.There are far too many mothers and fathers shedding tears behind the foolish actions of others.We can’t always see the tracks of their tears, but You do.And, knowing the depth of Your love, You’re shedding tears too.
A number of us have said we don’t need You and others didn’t have an opportunity to know You.I implore You to come into the quiet places of our hearts and show us the love and compassion necessary in the midst of the world’s chaos.
When we are at our wits end and looking for an imperfect way to handle conflict and other trials, may we remember that God is more than enough!
In His Love,
≈ Devotional for Friday: June 01, 2007
"Reaching Impossible Goals"
A dear Christian friend wrote these words to me:
"They increased the production schedule again--it makes my life very stressful.It seems that they always increase it to some impossible goal to reach.What a nice thought to know that we can soar above the storm and enjoy God's peace."
We are often faced with stressful opportunities which call upon super-human strength.As I pondered her words, which so eloquently speak the thoughts of all of us at one time or another, God shared something with me from Og Mandino, which I will pass on to you:
"Build this day on a foundation of pleasant thoughts.Never fret at any imperfections that you fear impede your progress.Remind yourself, as often as necessary, that you are a creature of God and have the power to achieve any dream by lifting up your thoughts.You can fly when you decide that you can.Never consider defeat again.Let the vision in your heart be in your life's blueprint.Smile!"Amen and amen.